|Scott Douglas, Rick Bates and John Pratt|
Best known for his fantasy novel series The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis was a theologian, a poet and a professor of English at Oxford University in England. Shadowlands, directed by Kendra Malm and now playing at Olympia Little Theatre, is the story of Lewis’s love for the American poet Joy Gresham who wrote under the pen name Joy Davidman.
The play opens with Lewis (played by Scott Douglas) standing at a lectern with his friends and fellow professors seated behind him — they are actually in place for the next scene when they all gather for drinks. A clever bit of stagecraft, that. Lewis lectures on why God allows suffering in this world. He is well reasoned, self-satisfied, brilliant, and witty, with an abundance of legendary British reserve. He says suffering is a wake-up call and that without suffering we cannot know joy, which turns out to be an unintentional pun since a woman named Joy is soon to come into his life and bring him love and suffering. Throughout the rest of the play we see evidence of clashes between his theology and the reality of his life. In many ways the whole play is a theological debate acted out through real life events, and it is a touching love story.
|Scott Douglas and Stacey Hopkins|
|Scott Douglas and Tim Butterfield. All photos by Kendra Malm|